After you completed all the steps of the K1 visa journey from filling I-129f up to the US interview and CFO seminar if you are from the Philippines, the next thing you need to do is flying to the US. But, before that make sure you bring everything you need in your luggage and most especially your passport and the yellow packet from the embassy. Your yellow packet must be put in your hand carry on together with your personal documents that you might need to the US.
In this topic, I’m going to discuss my personal travel and port of entry experience. My experience was in October 2016 but it’s still fresh in my mind. And every time I think my visa process up to my port of entry I always feel happy and proud to myself because I get through with it. And of course always thankful to my husband and to Almighty God. Now, let’s start the discussion.
What To Expect At A US Port Of Entry
Once you land to the US the first thing you need to do once you reach the immigration area is fall in line to the lane of visitors from another country, you should select the appropriate lane. If you have stuff that needs to be declared you must have completed a CBP (Customs and Border Protection) declaration form and present it to the CBP officer.
When the CBP officer calls you, make sure your passport and a yellow packet are ready and give it to him/her. Once they see your passport and get the yellow packet, they may ask you some questions just to make sure your documents match to your purpose of entering the US. Be ready to answer questions and pay attention to the officer to speed the process. Once they are done questioning you they will ask you to put your finger to the scanner for fingerprints taken, and they will also take you a picture. If you have eyeglasses you must take them off during the picture taking. After that, they may ask you additional questions and then they will ask you what do you have inside your hand carry bag. After the primary step which is passport control processing, they may tell you to go and get your luggage to the carousel or they might tell you to step on to the other room for secondary reviewing your documents or might want additional question etc. inside that room. But don’t panic it is not a punishment, it is just like a continuation of your interview, this happens to some people who are immigrating to the US and K1 visa holder are included to that.
The next step is baggage claim, always remember to read the sign to the baggage claim carousels, do not forget to double check your luggage identification tag, because many luggage are look alike and you don’t want to pick the wrong luggage. if you have connecting flight the next thing you need to do after getting your luggage is proceed to another inspection of your luggage, once you cleared and transfer all your luggage for your next domestic flight the next thing you will need to do is go through the final security check, in order to board the next flight. Make sure you follow the security instruction for the speed security check if they say remove all the stuff in your pocket or remove your shoes please do it for the fast checking and not become a cause of downtime in the line. After you clear the security you may now find your gate, there is big monitor in front of security check, all the flight details, and gates information are there so make sure you check the monitor before you start walking around, plus you can ask question by people standing by to help you they can tell you what to do and where you can find your gate.
My Travel Experience
My husband flies to the Philippines to pick me and our daughter up. Our flight is October 20, 2016, 8:00 am at the NAIA terminal 3. My family takes us to the airport we left Batangas at exactly 3 am. When we arrived at the Naia we said goodbye to my family when we go to the departure and showed our itinerary and passport then we fall in line to Delta airlines. I didn’t have to pay a travel tax because it’s included in my ticket. Then the girl who assisted to the line gave me a departure card and told me to fill this out and when it’s our turn the Delta Airline ticket agent gets our passport and get my departure card, she didn’t ask anything to me she just ask my husband where are we going then she asks him to put our luggage on the conveyor. After that, we proceed to the departure and fall in line to immigration check in then proceed to the gate where our flight is, then we go through the security check. Water and food are not allowed, the stuff to the security check will gonna confiscate everything that prohibited, everybody needs to remove shoes and everything in the pocket. After that we just waited 30 minutes for the waiting area then the staff called all the passengers zone by zone to enter the plane.
And it’s because it’s our first time to travel abroad and ride on a plane, my daughter and I are very excited about this flight, we did a picture here picture there. My husband reserve a seat beside the window he wants us to enjoy our flight and see the clouds outside. Our flight is Manila to Japan it’s 4 hours and 25 minutes flight, when the plane is ready for landing my daughter is complaining that her ears are aching and that is because of air pressure but after she chews candy she said she is OK then when we arrived in Japan we go through the security check in before we go through inside the gate of our next flight then we waited for 2 hours and 5 minutes for layover before our next flight. We just waited outside our gate for the next flight then when they called all the passenger to enter the plane, they just checked our passport and boarding pass.
My Port Of Entry Experience
Our next flight is Japan to Detroit Michigan, Detroit is my port of entry (POE) and our trip is 11 hours and 35 minutes from Japan to Detroit. We landed to Detroit at exactly 2:05 pm US time, then we fall in line for Custom and border protection checking, my husband and my daughter are both US citizen but they fall in line with me to visitor line. When it’s our turn to CBP checking, the officers said hello and ask where have you been guys? then he gets our passport and my yellow packet. He opens my yellow packet then he returns the pictures and the yellow envelope to me, after that he asked me to put my finger to the scanner then took a picture to me then he said thank you and have a good day welcome to the USA. We get our luggage to the carousel and proceed to our connecting flight but we go through the security first which is just same to the NAIA and Japan security checking, the people who are in charge to transfer our luggage for the next flight just took our luggage. After final security inspection we checked our next flight and gate to the monitor then we walk through the tunnel which my daughter enjoyed and love it because of different light colors around the tunnel, after walking through the tunnel we go up to the escalator to reach our gate. We waited almost 4 hours for the next flight outside our assign gate before the staff called all the passengers to enter the plane. The staff checked our passport and boarding pass before entering the plane. Then our next flight is domestic from Detroit Michigan to Peoria Illinois. It is a smaller plane, seems like you are just sitting inside the bus, our flight from Detroit to Peoria is 1 hour and 23 minutes. We landed at our final destination at exactly 9:08 pm. We just go out the plane then walk until we reach the luggage claim area, after we claimed our luggage my husband told us to wait because he will get his car in the parking lot, I didn’t know that in the US you can leave your car in the airport parking lot if you will travel abroad. And then we arrived home at exactly 10 pm.
Tips When You Travel As a K1 Visa
- Buy a plane ticket with one airline only if the budget can afford it, it’s less hassle especially if you will travel alone. If you have one airline you don’t have to check in check out your luggage to the airport.
- When you buy plane ticket make sure the travel tax is included so you don’t have to fall in line to a travel tax payment
- Don’t be shy to ask the airport staff especially to the immigration officer, they are happy to help you
- The backpack is better for hand carries than purses
- Bring your own ball pen you need it sometimes
- Be confident and don’t be scared when immigration officer is asking you
- Make sure you bring all important documents you might need in the US and the yellow packet from the US embassy
- Don’t be shy to ask your fellow Filipino during your flight. You never know you are neighbor in the US and they can help you or instruct you what to do if you feel confused about what to do or where you go in the huge airport
- Connect WiFi to the airport for you to be able to update your fiance/husband and family in your country about your flight and your locations
If you travel alone going to the US I know it’s normal to get nervous especially to the immigration officers question but don’t worry and don’t panic they are not gonna harm you, they just want to determine that your intended purpose coming to the US actually matches to your documents or visa. For example, we are K1 visa they just want to make sure to our purpose. US customs and border protection officers take the arrival process seriously, they are responsible for everyone safety and security and because security is so important, they may tell you if you have any problem to your fiance/spouse or if he abuses you don’t hesitate to contact for help. They are concern for everyone welfare and safety so don’t be afraid of them just be confident, keep calm, be prepared and trust God.
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